Some day the spirit of enterprise which is now transforming Russia may take hold of this remote corner of the Empire, and when the great plains of Siberia and Eastern Russia are more thickly peopled we may have the curious condition of an immense iron and steel producing district with charcoal as the only fuel.
It may also be possible that some of the best ores may be transported 1200 miles to the Donetz coal basin, or that the coal may be taken to the ore. The prohibitive distances intervening between outside countries and the center of the Continent make many things possible when the time comes that the plains of Asia are covered with cities, or when they will be laid out with railway systems as the Great Desert of our own West has been 'reconstructed in a generation.
One solution to the transportation problem in the Urals is being given by a company which is building a plant of six 15-ton open-hearth furnaces at Tsaritain on the Yolga. The pig-iron will be made in charcoal furnaces in the Urals and be brought 900 miles on barges by river, and it must all be brought on the summer freshet, as the upper tributaries are only navigable at that time. The fuel is naphtha, which will be brought 700 miles from Batoum by way of the Caspian Sea and the Yolga.
One of the principal works in the Urals is the Mjni Tagual, owned by Demidoif, Prince San-Donato. This is near the ore deposits of Blagodat and Yissiokaia and has eleven blast furnaces, twelve open-hearth furnaces and a Bessemer plant. The output of this plant during 1899 was 72,886 tons of pig-iron and 52,070 tons of wrought-iron and steel. This record of the largest and best-known works in the district will give an idea of the general condition. The largest works in the Southern Urals is near the ore mine of Komarowo, but its output is only 2000 tons of pig-iron per month. This ore deposit is a brown hematite, but a little distance to the eastward is an immense deposit of magnetite at Magnitnaja or the "Iron Mountain."
With the .exception of Ekerinoslav, Poland is the only part of Russia where extensive deposits of coal are found. In 1888 the Dombrova field, in the Bendzin district, province of Petrokov, in Poland, produced 2,376,000 tons of coal, being slightly more than Southern Russia, but in 1903 Poland had increased only to 4,750,-